A New York jury on Wednesday found Kansas City businessman Richard Moseley Sr. guilty of criminal charges related to a $220 million predatory payday lending operation.
Moseley was convicted of wire fraud, racketeering, aggravated identity theft and other charges stemming from a payday lending business that charged consumers interest rates as high as 700 percent or more.
Moseley is the third Kansas City man to be found convicted of running a usurious payday lending business. Scott Tucker and Tim Muir were convicted in New York last month of running a $2 billion payday lending enterprise that used American Indian tribes as fronts to charge predatory interest rates. Tucker and Muir await sentencing.
Those three criminal convictions, along with civil enforcement actions against several others locally in recent years, have spotlighted Kansas City’s role as a nerve center in the payday lending industry.
Moseley, from 2004 to 2014, ran a group of payday lending businesses that came to be known as the Hydra Lenders.
He was accused of establishing nominal businesses in New Zealand and in the Caribbean island of Nevis in order to sidestep state usury laws and regulatory investigations, even though the Hydra Group largely operated out of Kansas City.
Beyond charging usurious interest rates and extending loans with deceptive terms, Moseley had been accused of giving loans to consumers who did not want them.
Moseley’s attorney said his client planned to appeal the conviction.
“We are disappointed with the verdict and plan of a vigorous appeal,” said Adam Perlmutter, a New York attorney representing Moseley, in an email. “The law in the area was completely unsettled at the time alleged in the indictment. We believe the US Attorney’s Office pursued prosecution in a manner that fundamentally violated Mr. Moseley’s right to due process, and hope to rectify that gross injustice in a higher court.”
In 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Moseley’s businesses, calling them at the time a “brazen and illegal cash-grab scam.”
Moseley will be sentenced on April 27. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the four most serious charges for which he was convicted.